Getting Approval for Grocery on Amazon: Breaking Through Gated Categories

The Grocery & Gourmet Food category is gated in the Amazon marketplace. With the growth of the grocery category still on the rise, here's how to get a piece of the pie.

By
Hinge Content Writer

Amazon’s Gated Category

There are hundreds of categories on Amazon, but not all are created equal. The Grocery & Gourmet Food category is one of those areas in the Amazon marketplace. With the growth rate of Amazon’s grocery category still on the rise, we wanted review the requirements for any sellers interested in getting a piece of the pie.

Legal requirements on behalf of the FDA affect which food products can be sold on Amazon, leading to a section of the marketplace where restricted categories exist; also known as “gated categories.” It is important to understand that these requirements are not put in place to inconvenience vendors, but rather to protect customers’ health and vendors from legal consequences. When it comes down to it, Amazon is all about customer experience. They want their shoppers to browse and buy with confidence, and the surest way is through requiring sellers to meet predetermined standards and qualifications.

Grocery and Gourmet Foods Specific Guidelines

From packaging and labeling to shipment dates, there’s an extensive list of requirements that sellers in the Grocery and Gourmet Foods category must adhere to. Below is the guideline list pulled from Amazon.

Category Requirements for Grocery & Gourmet Food:

  • Food must be properly prepared, packed, sealed, and labeled.
  • You must be licensed, or have approval from the relevant government agency for the products you plan to sell.
  • You must ensure your products and business operations comply with the federal and state laws. This includes laws not described in Amazon Policies.
  • Sell Grocery & Gourmet Food products as new. You cannot list used products.
  • Food is viewed as date-sensitive. It must have an expiration date permanently marked on every unit, unless the product is exempt. This includes every unit that is shipped, and every unit displayed for sale.
  • Keep the Fulfillment Center (FC) shelf life details up to date for grocery products. In the inventory file template, set the value of the is_expiration_dated_product field to “true.” The FC shelf life is the length of time a product is sellable, or fit to be eaten.
  • Label in English all products covered by federal, state and local laws.
  • Enclose and sealed food in packaging suitable for shipping. It must keep food from contamination, spoiling, melting, and damage.
  • You must ship food with enough of its shelf life remaining. You must not remove or alter the expiration date of the products inside.
  • You must list Grocery & Gourmet Food products using the manufacturer’s UPC code.

Once these criteria are met, sellers must prove their business is legal and sustainable by providing three examples of their product or commercial invoices. Sellers are also required to provide any additional information Amazon may request, though they will specify what they need while moving through the approval process. Having the correct documents in line will only help speed up the process and make it as seamless as possible.

Amazon doesn’t have restricted categories to make things more complicated for sellers. The path to getting your products “ungated” is to ensure the safety of the consumers and prove that Amazon is a trustworthy platform to buy from. This set of standards will not only approve merchants to sell in gated categories but will also expand inventory opportunities for Amazon sellers. Sellers shouldn’t avoid gated categories just because it requires extra steps. Instead, they should see it as an opportunity to expand inventory opportunities and compete in a field where the competition is immediately reduced due to the sole reason that there are fewer sellers in restricted categories.


Still have questions? Get answers from our Amazon experts here.

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